The Chairman, Oil and Gas Zone , Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent , Mrs Okere Celestina Chinyere has dismissed claims making rounds of accusing officials of the Nigeria Customs Service operating at Onne Port, Rivers State of extortion at the expense of freight forwarders and customs brokers.
According Mrs Okere, she was quoted out of context by some journalists who she believed did not understand the term “Transit goods and Fast Track goods” in the freight forwarding profession.
Okere maintained that freight forwarders, operatives of customs and management of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA at the Onne Port have a robust working relationship in furtherance of promoting trade facilitation and boosting revenue generation for the government.
In her statement, she said ” My attention has been drawn to the news making rounds captioned “lamentations from freight forwarders about extortion by customs and NPA personnel at the exit gate of Onne port including Oil and Gas Free Zone Goods.
“I want to categorically and unequivocally state as follows:That I Okere Celestina chinyere was quoted out of context by the journalist who mixed and muddled issues due to lack of understanding of the Term “Transit goods and Fast Track goods” in our profession.
” I emphasized on the policy of 5 Containers per one Escort officer causes delay in the delivery of “fast track and transit” cargoes and not duly cleared and released containers due to shortage of escort officer beyond the control of the Command.
“It was glaring that the lack of escort personnel resulted in the rationing of these highlighted containers which the resultant effect attracts #25,000 penalty from NPA for long time parking after 2 days grace period.
“There was no time the Nigeria customs Service men and officers were accused of neither extortion by any means nor claim that they are living Large at the expense of freight forwarders.
“There is no relationship between the Transit/fast Track goods with Exited Cleared goods at the gate” she quipped.
She affirmed that the reporters ought to have seek clarification of the terms in furtherance to the ethics of balance reportage from the NCS.
She however advised the media to be guided in order to play as crusaders to support the peaceful coexistence and working relationship between customs and stakeholders in the industry and not the other way round.